A great eureka moment is when you get your modular system in sync with your computer and DAW. There a multiple ways to do this using various modules or by even simply sending a click track out of an output of an audio interface. In my studio I use a Innerclock Sync-Gen IIls. It works great but it’s not the most cost effective option. For my laptop set up I use a Mutable Instruments CVpal. The CVpal is a very inexpensive kit only that is actually very good. Without any software it gives you MIDI note control and gate outs. If I were to buy a solution today I think it would be another Mutable Instruments product called Yarns. It gives you MIDI and Gate outs. It also gives you a polyphony mode of 4 MIDI outs, a Roland SH-101 sequencer and other tricks. Watch the great Sonic State video review above to see all it can do. $360 USD.
“Yarns is a MIDI interface providing up to 4 channels of CV/Gate conversion, and providing some of the MIDI message processing features of Mutable Instruments’ MIDIpal, including arpeggiator, euclidean sequencer, and a SH-101 inspired step sequencer.” – mutable-instruments.net
For more info: mutable-instruments.net/modules/yarns
I am working on my next album. I have equipment lying all over the place in several totally different locations. In one corner of my apartment I have “little” Eurorack set up and for the sample of the track above Im using a Korg SuperDrums DDM110 for beats and sync. Your also hearing a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas through a Synthesis Technology E440 which has it’s filter controlled by a Make Noise Pressure Points and transpose controlled by a Flame Tame Machine. Now to do some vocals…
“Where does all this leave the DDM110? Not realistic enough to satisfy people who want a drum machine to act as a convenient substitute for a real drummer, not considered ‘classic’ enough to command the extortionate prices paid by retro enthusiasts for just about anything 15 years old with a Roland badge and no MIDI port. This ‘half-way’ status, coupled with its more eccentric qualities, is enough to place the DDM110 in the ‘love it or hate it’ oddity category. I personally gravitate towards the former opinion.” – Sound on Sound
For more info: soundonsound.com/sos/jan01/articles/korgddm110
I use Audio Damage plug-ins all the time. I have to admit I was excited to see them get into Eurorack Modular however I didn’t grab any of their first efforts. On Chris Randall’s blog Analog Industries he posted info on their new module called Sequencer 1. I will be grabbing this one day one. Besides it’s myriad of features for the sequences themselves it has a mini keyboard quantizer (yes!) and a LCD screen with patch storage. This is fantastic. Expected to be released soon at about $600.
36HP, 20mm depth. 4 banks of 16 patterns, each pattern can be from 1 to 64 steps long. The entire state (all banks and patterns) can be saved to SD card as a preset, so the memory is essentially unlimited. Clock input can be per step (like any other sequencer’s clock), or 24ppq or 48ppq for DIN sync (via a simple 5-pin DIN -> 3.5mm adaptor). Clock output can be a staggering number of choices, which is handy if the unit is acting as the master clock. The Run input can be operated a couple different ways, as can the output. In short, it can interface to pretty much anything clockish, and can in turn drive pretty much anything in a clocklike fashion. Each step gets a 1v/Oct output, three CV outputs (that can each be either 0-10v, -5 to +5v, or 0 to +5v), a main gate output, and an auxiliary gate output. Gate length is programmable per step. The playback modes are forward, reverse, pingpong, pingpong with double end triggers, skip forward, walk, and random. This is programmable per pattern. There are several ratcheting features; you can program a ratchet of various lengths per step, or you’ll note the 6 buttons labeled “REP.” These will repeat, in order, the last 8, 4, 2, or 1 steps as a loop, or cause the step you hit them on to repeat in half or quarter time. (In the same manner that the MIDI triggers in Replicant work, basically, if you own that plugin.) As I hinted before, SD card for storage and OS updates.” – Chris Randall (Audio Damage)
For more info: analogindustries.com/b1873/The+New+Shit
TipTop Audio has released another in their line of Roland TR-808 modules for the Eurorack system. I own all of them so far and they are all stellar. I believe I read Gur used to repair or clone real 808s so he really knows what he is doing. This time the Rimshot and Clav are covered in the new RS808 module. The sound is right and besides the flexibility of being in the modular environment the module has slightly more variation than the original.
“The RS808 is the TR-808’s analog Rimshot and Clavs sound generator in Eurorack format. It’s a low-cost module that brings back that classic sound, but with even more variation and control, continuing to expand your Tiptop Audio modular drum machine. The RS808 comes with two switches that give a total of 4 different positions: two are the classic Rimshot and Clavs sounds as found on the original, and two are unique to the RS808 module adding a range of snappy “click” sounds the circuit is capable of producing. Two control knobs were added, each have different effect for the selected sound. In general, these controls can be categorized as Pitch and Snap as they control the frequency of the oscillator and decay of the envelope generator. The RS808 is an exact reproduction of the original circuit which sounds like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80’s.” – tiptopaudio.com
For more info: tiptopaudio.com/rs808
There is a new Youtube video series showing modular synth basics. So far there are 8 videos and I already have learned a few new things. These are simply and extremely helpful for anyone especially people new to modular synthesis. Thanks for Tuesday Night Machines for posting these!
“I started a new video series a couple of days ago, focusing on basic concepts of (Eurorack) Modular Synthesizers. My goal is to produce short videos, around 3 minutes in length, that quickly give the viewer a fundamental understanding of the topics covered. After that, the viewer can look for more specific knowledge at the other great resources online, for example the in-depth module demos of Raul’s World of Synths and of course this very community.” – The Tuesday Night Machines
For more info: The Tuesday Night Machines
A matrix switch is a really important module. I watched a demo at length on matrix switch being used in the 5U format and really wanted one. To see the video I am talking about that got me inspired: click here. Thankfully WMD has released their Sequential Switch Matrix and it looks great!
“Our take on an essential module. Four inputs can be routed with individual buttons to four outputs. Those routing settings are stored in an array of matrices that can be sequenced or controlled with CV. Preset routing, feedback loops, chop sequences, trigger blasts (with expander), four-bit-wavetable-synthesis, and dramatic controllable mayhem are all possible.” – wmdevices.com
For more info: wmdevices.com/ssm
Yesterday after work I went to the KOMA Elektronik Event at Control. For those who don’t know Control is at Eurorack modular synthesizer store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn owned by Daren Ho and Jonas Asher. KOMA Elektronik make modules and advanced pedals. They are Dutch and Austrian and the company is based in Berlin. I was pretty tired from working all day but really enjoy the get togethers at the store so I forced myself over there. After a large coffee, a couple of beers and some synth tweaking the conversation and fun started. KOMA didn’t have any new modules to show but they said they do have some in the works. Control is starting to get a lot of cool used stuff and I spent a few minutes checking out a weird vintage mixer with a built in drum machine. I also played with the Volcas for the first time and discovered they are really nice in person. I couldn’t resist buying something so I picked up an Intellijel Planar. I mean it’s a joystick so I have to one. After exploring some modules there are three I now have to add to my must have list: Modcan Quad LFO, Qu-Bit Electronix Nebulae and an Intellijel Rubicon. I really enjoy watching other people patch and create music on the large systems. I always get some ideas and also realize there are things I can do that I didn’t know I could. Nullsleep (Jeremiah Johnson) and others created some interesting loops worth watching. Be sure to come out to one of these events if you can it’s a lot of fun if you’re into synths! To see the full set of photos: click here
“On January 16th 2014 KOMA Elektronik will come to the Big Apple to host an event together with our buddies from Control Synthesizers and Electronic Devices! From 6PM till 8PM we will be at Control to answer all your questions that you might have about our machines, special techniques and upcoming designs. We will show our new machines and will have a few drinks to start the new year in a great fashion.” – koma-elektronik.com
For more info: koma-elektronik.com and ctrl-mod.com
I used to get both Keyboard and Electronic Musician magazines in the mail each month. My iPad and the internet has replaced those days but I am glad to see the mags still live on. Electronic Musician has just started releasing Modsquad a YouTube series with Gino Robair and Jim Aikin about modulars. I really like these and there’s no better video online that shows off the Metasonix R54. Enjoy!
“Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. Visit our website for artist features, gear reviews, and more tutorials!” – emusician.com
For more info: youtube.com/user/MyElectronicMusician/videos
Tiptop Audio continues its quest to recreate the Roland TR-808 and TR-909 in Eurorack format. Toms909 is the latest addition to this amazing range. I have most of the drum modules already and they are spot on plus more. So if your ready to get your Jeff Mills on these are available now for $400 USD.
“The toms909 contains all three of the tr-909′s original low, mid and high tom-tom circuits adapted for use in the eurorack modular synthesizer format. the module was tested to sound like a fresh machine coming off the assembly line back in the 80′s. to add flavor to the beast we have extended each tom’s tuning range so it’s easier to dial soft bass drums on the lower ends and high pitched toms on the other. in addtion to that all three toms are voltage controlled, letting you play the tom’s pitch with cv sequencers…” – tiptopaudio.com
For more info: tiptopaudio.com
This video made the rounds earlier this week but I didn’t press play. This morning I clicked and oh yeah this is amazing. Someone put an electronic soundtrack to the classic Road Runner cartoon. They did such a good job. The acid Warner Brothers intro alone is just so great.
“Consider the recursion of Coyote, who never eats, but only considers eating, ad infinitum. This barren, craggy, dry universe is more like a Mandlebrot purgatory with an endless supply of Acme weapon products which can’t function predictably, or whose proper function can’t be apprehended by Coyote.
Every ravine, every rocky outcrop, every national road that splices the desert is generated anew each time Coyote is forced not to die – his bones regenerate, his cardiac arrests are all false. He can be skinned alive a million times a million times.
This routine unravels from a spool that was never wound. Is this because of artifice that such toil is even noticeable? Why contrive a purgatory like this when heaven can be imagined? Or would every heaven ever dreamt only appear as purgatory to enlightened eyes?” – sssnacksss
For more info: wikipedia.org/Wile_E._Coyote_and_The_Road_Runner